ISIS Crimes Against Yazidis Constitute Genocide, UN Reports

05/21/2021 Iraq (International Christian Concern) –  In a historic moment, a UN investigation team known as UNITAD declared that the Islamic State committed genocide against Yazidis. The announcement comes after years of advocacy by the Yazidi community for the recognition and restitution for the crimes done to them.

The UN team focused on an August 2014 attack in Sinjar in Northern Iraq against the Yazidi community, as well as a mass killing of military personnel at Tikrit Air Academy in June 2014. “I am able to announce that based upon independent and impartial investigations, complying with international standards and UN best practice, there is clear and convincing evidence that the crimes against the Yazidi people clearly constituted genocide,” the team lead said. UNITAD identified 1,444 suspected perpetrators responsible for the attacks on the Yazidis, including 14 people deemed most responsible. They also identified key individual and company funders to ISIS.

While the Yazidi community at large applauds the verdict, there is concern about what happens next. The UN team was created to be an investigative group, not a prosecution group. Instead, the charter of the investigation allocated responsibility for the criminal proceedings to take place in Iraq’s domestic courts. UNITAD has since received requests from 14 states for assistance in the proceedings. Some, including Nadia Murad, a prominent Yazidi advocate, have called for UNITAD to recommend their discoveries and the subsequent prosecutions to the International Criminal Court or to create an ad-hoc tribunal.

Yazda, an NGO to support victims of the Yazidi Genocide, released a joint statement indicating that the Yazidi community has placed significant hope in the UNITAD team and that Yazidi voices should be heard as new laws are developed. Many lost hope and trust in Iraq’s institutions after facing persecution and genocide, and therefore international involvement to ensure the just trials is needed.

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